With temperature soaring in most parts of the country, AC makers are expecting the surge in demand to continue for some more weeks, making 2019 one of the strongest bumper seasons after many years of slow-tomoderate numbers.
“Till mid-March, the market was not that great, and we had average sales. After March 15, there has been a tremendous growth in demand, something that we have not witnessed over the past decade or so,” Vijay Babu, VP (home appliances) at LG India, told TOI. “In April and May, we faced a stock-out situation across some of the locations. We are ramping up numbers.”
Babu said LG has doubled its manpower in AC business, and now has almost 8,000 technicians as it catches up with the strong demand. “Most of our technical manpower has been diverted towards AC business. A key demand of customers generally is to get same-day installation, and thus we have increased our team strength.”
Companies have been asking component makers for fresh supplies as inventory levels dry up.
Pradeep Bakshi, MD & CEO of market leader Voltas, said numbers have moved up by double-digits this year. “Our preparation for this season had started almost by fourth quarter of last year, and thus we were organised and stocked up by February.”
Japanese brand Panasonic has also seen brisk numbers with heavy footfalls at dealerships. “Triggered by the heightened demand for appliances in the summer season, AC sales started on a positive note. We have recorded strong numbers in April and May, clocking over 40% growth,” Manish Sharma, president & CEO of Panasonic India, said. Sharma said demand is there not only for entry models, but even for more sophisticated higherspecification models.
Shashi Arora, CEO of Havells-owned Lloyd, said 60% of AC sales happen in summer, primarily between March and June. “Easy consumer finance has helped drive in numbers, and nearly 90% of demand is coming for split ACs. There has been healthy pick-up for energy-efficient inverter ACs also.”